Improving social protection and health care in Cambodia

Project description

Title: Improving Social Protection and Health in Cambodia
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Co-funded by: Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)
Country: Cambodia
Lead executing agency: National Social Protection Council (NSPC), represented by its General Secretariat
Overall term: 2021 to 2024

Sam Vong Khemrey (Wing agent) and Ou Sea (beneficiary) during the COVID cash transfer payout. © GIZ/Conor Wall


Cambodia’s social protection system is still in its infancy. To date, the most comprehensive protection is provided through the Health Equity Fund, which offers non-contributory health insurance for approximately 2.7 million people from poor and vulnerable groups. The few other social programmes in place provide only low levels of coverage or have limited scope of protection. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that the services being offered do not match the emerging needs and are not equally accessible to all population groups.

While financial access to health services has improved in recent years, quality remains poor. Bottlenecks arise due to the inadequate qualifications of health professionals and sometimes unreliable diagnostics in the medical laboratory system.


The social protection and health system is strengthened with regard to shock-responsiveness, inclusiveness and service quality.


The project provides advice on how to make the social protection system shock-responsive and inclusive, as well as supporting the National Social Protection Council (NSPC) in its processes and cooperation among ministries. It is also supporting the digital transformation of the social protection system with technical know-how.

In order to ensure that vulnerable groups are better taken into account in the social protection system, the project is supporting the further development of the existing database of poor households (IDPoor) into a comprehensive social registry and the adaptation of social protection programmes to make them more shock-responsive.

Another aim is to create the conditions for competency-based training of doctors and laboratory technicians. To do so, the project strengthens the capacity of partner organisations to adjust their teaching and learning to international standards for competency-based education. It is also committed to revising curricula in accordance with the national standards and to developing quality assurance measures for training at institutions receiving support. Twelve laboratories are also receiving assistance with efforts to improve quality management.

Last update: October 2023